Mating Orange Beetles
Sun, Feb 8, 2009 at 12:17 AM
Many of these beetles were mating this fall amongst the wildflowers here in Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs, CO
These are some species of Soldier Beetle or Leatherwing from the genus Chauliognathus. There is a very common eastern species, Chauliognathus pensylvanicus, the Goldenrod Soldier Beetle, but according to BugGuide, there have been no reports from Colorado. There are several species that have been reported from Colorado, but exact species identification is difficult due to your camera angle. Were we to hazard a guess, we would say these are most likely Colorado Soldier Beetles, Chauliognathus basalis, but the distinguishing features according to BugGuide: “head, antennae, legs black; pronotum and elytra reddish-orange; pronotum with semicircular or U-shaped black mark on posterior half; elytra with triangular black patch at base and rectangular black patch at tip color of elytra is apparently variable (polymorphic) and is the subject of research papers ” are not visible in your image. As a general note on the excellent macro photographs you have sent to us for identification: images showing only the specimens’ heads makes identification very difficult for us. We would request that you only send images of the entire insect in question for identification purposes.
August 10, 2009
This copulating pair of soldier beetles is most likely C. pennsylvanicus and not C. basalis. The color and elytral markings are much more consistent with that of C. pennsylvanicus and do not resemble those of C. basalis. See the image from the Mating Pennsylvania Leatherwings post of Dec. 16, 2006 and you will see that these two images represent the same beetle species. I grew up collecting copulating C. pennsulvanicus from wild sunflowers in SD and have seen thousands of them.